Darwin's Little Revenge


In our garden we have a small group of Mechelse Stryrian chickens, the 17th generation of crossbreeding of the Cosmopolitan Chicken Project. Originally, we had two hens and one rooster, thriving very well. The rooster became a beautiful animal, eager to pass around his message by setting out to crow very early in the morning at 5 o’clock or on a beautiful day,  at 4:30 in the morning. While our household is pretty used to this, one of our new neighbors thinks differently on this natural phenomenon and began a campaign to  dispute the presence of a crowing rooster in a residential environment.

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For us, the rooster is part of the Cosmopolitan Chicken Project of Koen Vanmechelen, a oeuvre of art, for our neighbor, the rooster is a nuisance, noise pollution, in our well organized and neat neighborhood.

The perception of this natural phenomenon is of course different for each of the parties affected, maybe yourself may already hold an opinion on this. In trying to understand this, let’s play a simple act.

How many of you have heard a rooster crowing and what is your view on a crowing rooster?

A school teacher would say: “ this is natural for a rooster, this is what roosters do”.

JP Sartre would say that the rooster is “condemned to be free and has to crow”.

Darwin would say that this is just survival of the fittest and that this rooster is the most potent and thus still lives and crows, while the weakest died.

Martin Luther King would say: “I imagine a world where all roosters would be free to crow, without having their motives called into action”.

Freud would say: “The fact that you are concerned by the crowing, reveals your underlying sexual insecurity”

If we would ask Einstein, he would say: it is not sure that the rooster crowed as long as you recollect, since your experience of time is malleable. Your experience of space may not be what it is: the rooster may not be crowing at your window, space can stretch and shrink.

Or Buddha, if he hears the crowing rooster: “Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.”, crow, rooster, crow!

Then Jesus replied: "I tell you the truth, Peter - this very night, before the rooster crows, you will deny three times that you even know me."

Flash back to our little garden, where the Stryrian rooster starts crowing at 4h30 in the morning. One day Koen Vanmechelen came by and the rooster disappeared in a shipping box. He was expatriated. For several mornings it was very quiet in our garden. Suddenly, a few houses from here,close to the house of the complaining neighbor, we did hear another rooster crowing. Is this Darwin’s little revenge? Nature cannot be stopped.